Sometimes we can forget that kids are people too and that their thoughts, ideas and feelings are just as valid as ours. They are individuals that deserve just as much respect as anyone else. Really? Yes. This is the idea behind cooperative/respectful parenting, or at least my idea of it.
Is this really necessary? To make such a big deal about respecting our kids? Well, I think so. And here’s why:
1. As parents we are teachers and we teach by what we do. If we are respectful, open, trusting and positive, we will teach kids to be the same. We can’t be sarcastic, punitive and untrusting with our kids and expect them to be genuine, generous, and trusting.
2. How we speak to children matters. It communicates to kids how we feel about them. How we feel about ours kids helps shape their views of themselves. Our voice, the things we say at home, at the grocery store, visiting relatives… this all becomes the voice in their head, and what they believe to be true about themselves. Beliefs about oneself are extremely important with regard to your child’s health and success, in future relationships and life in general. We want our kids to be happy and successful.
3. Cultivating a loving and respectful relationship might seem like a lot of work, but it is worth it. With cooperation, parenting is so much easier. We want parenting to be easier
Yes we really can get cooperation from kids without coercing or controlling them. It may take a little bit longer to figure out how to use a cooperative style of parenting, but cooperative parenting leads to way less drama. So, for those parents tired of constant power struggles, this is your fix.
Cooperative parenting sets our children up for real success. A respected child will hold her head high, will have agency and control over her own life. This is incredibly reassuring and empowering for a child. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. A lack of cooperation and respect from the parent will lead to a child who is agitated and anxious, perhaps acting out, looking for the things they aren’t getting. Not good stuff. For parents, these “problem” behaviours can come across as confusing, unpredictable and draining. But it’s completely understandable.
A child who feels truly loved and respected will be more confident, calm and helpful. They feel better, you feel better. Win-win!